A hundred years ago April 17, 1920. Archives

Intensive Kultur.(From an Editorial)

We have suggested that there is good reason to believe that the only conspiracy in the Punjab during the period under review was one on the part of the officials, with the “Saviour of the Empire” at their head, to teach India a lesson that shall be second only in its retaliatory vindictiveness, if not in its initial provocation, to the horrors of the Mutiny. General Dyer went to Amritsar, to put it bluntly, to massacre and he achieved it. The Lieutenant-Governor, we know, was an accessory after the event to this crime. We are morally certain that he was an accessory before the event as well. Sir M. O’Dwyer was prepared to issue blank cheques to his lieutenants if they chose to ask for them. It is reasonable to conclude that he did not omit to impress upon them the necessity of carrying sternness to the verge of “frightfulness”. Now in the whole Punjab episode there has been nothing more scandalous than the employment of aeroplanes for bombing towns and villages and machine-gunning groups of people. To one who remembers the vast volume of virtuous indignation wasted over the German air-raids there is something outrageously cynical in Sir M O’Dwyer’s disregard of the most elementary principles of humanity and civilisation. We say Sir M O’Dwyer advisedly, because there is proof that the employment of aeroplanes was an idea that first germinated in that fertile brain. One cannot accuse him and his lieutenants of hypocrisy in thus employing in an aggravated form methods of barbarity which they had denounced in the German, but the vicious cult of efficiency has so sapped the moral fibre of a certain type of official that to him Kipling’s suggestion that “there ain’t no Ten Commandments” east of Suez has become an article of faith. If General Dyer held Indian life cheap, his collaborators broke not only the Decalogue but all canons of decency and civilisation.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:05:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/archives/intensive-kulturfrom-an-editorial/article31359887.ece

Next Story